We have two new ambassadors to add to the fold! Welcome Verity and Joe (@byjovebybike).
They're about to cycle from London to India to visit and raise money for Magic Bus, an education and gender equality charity based in Mumbai.
How will they be getting there? By Beeline, of course. We caught up with them to find out more.
Verity (a lawyer) and Joe (a teacher) live just outside of London and have wanted to go on a 'proper adventure' for ages. They both yearned for a 'little bit of panic' that would take them out of their comfort zones and force them to go with the flow so, when Joe has a request for a sabbatical accepted by his school, they got planning something epic.
The couple are no strangers to cycle touring having cycled through Scotland and even spent some of their six week Colombian honeymoon cycling! The trip was amazing but saw them spend an evening escaping from one of the worst places they think that they've ever been to. Having met up with a Warm Showers host, Joe and Verity were led to what they can only describe as a 'concrete drug den' with a soggy mattress and lightbulb dangling from the ceiling. Needless to say, they made a hasty retreat.
This is undoubtedly their biggest adventure so far. They have a firm route planned out to Istanbul but are not quite sure which way they'll head at that point. The dream is to cycle through Iran, UAE and Oman before taking a boat across the Arabian Sea but all that depends on whether or not they can get visas. All fingers and toes crossed! If that doesn't work out they will head into the 'stans before crossing the Indian border and reaching Mumbai on the west coast.
Apart from some amazing memories, what do they expect to come back with? A permanent souvenir in the form of a tattoo, perhaps? '100 percent no tattoo!', Verity exclaims, but 'good quads and a strong tan line' look pretty certain.
Joe and Verity are raising money for a very special cause as they cycle. Magic Bus was founded back in 1999 when Matthew Spacie took children on a bus trip from the slums that they lived in in Mumbai to explore the beaches and hills outside of the city to give them one day of freedom from the harshness of their everyday lives.
For the children, the bus was 'magic' and an idea was born: to put children from across Mumbai, and then across India, on a metaphorical 'magic bus' and to help to give them the life skills and school support they needed to succeed in the workplace and to avoid 'destabilisers' like child marriage and labour. The charity now helps over 400,000 young people in the country and is one of the largest poverty alleviation programmes in India.
It just so happens that Joe works at the school that Spacie went to himself and so raising money for Magic Bus and heading to Mumbai to visit them seemed like the perfect fit. Fundraising for such a great cause will undoubtedly provide necessary inspiration to continue when the going gets tough, but what or who else will inspire them? Verity's answer is unequivocal: it is fellow Beeline Ambassador, 'Frances! I read her blog and she's just amazing. She's going to incredible places and she's doing it by herself'. For Joe it's people who run the London Marathon in crazily cumbersome costumes (he's looking at you Save the Rhino); there is something very inspiring about the strength of the human spirit.
And finally, a bit of fun...
Would you rather?
Would you rather teach for a term in lycra or be accompanied on the tour for a fortnight by an entire class?
Joe: Could I choose which class it would be? [No] I think it would have to be teaching in lycra for a term
You’ll be cycling in Christmas. Would you rather eat a full Christmas roast turkey before a massive hill or not be allowed to eat one for the entire trip?
Verity: Let it go. No Christmas meal. I don't really like turkey anyway
Would you rather mend a puncture once a day or lose one of your panniers on the first day?
Joe and Verity: Lose a pannier! You can always replace what you had in it
Would you rather be told you have to cycle all the way back from India or go all the way round the world to London?
Joe and Verity: All the way round the world. We never want to turn around!
Desert Island Discs:
If Joe and Verity had only eight songs that they could listen to on their journey, which would they choose?
What would be their luxury item?
Aside from items for escape that aren't allowed by the rules (a dolphin language translator), it would have to be something to keep us entertained. Ukuleles would be great but you run the risk of breaking the strings and it becoming useless. A bat and ball would keep us sane and could be used for hunting if we got good enough, so we'd probably take that.
And their one book?
Whilst Verity's favourite is the Northern Lights, she could probably be able to write it down from memory herself so that would be a waste. Perhaps something like The Ultimate Alphabet by Mike Wilks, its basically a grown up version of Where's Wally and would keep us interested for years!
We'll be cheering Verity and Joe all the way, and will keep you updated as they pedal across continents over the next few months. Be sure to check out their blog.